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Power outage leads to worry for those with oxygen tanks
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As trasformers blew and iced-over trees fell on power lines, many worried about how to cook their food and stay warm.

For others, oxygen was their primary concern.

Hall County vehicles began carrying spare oxygen tanks for those with in-home oxygen and no power, Hall County Fire Services Deputy Chief Chad Black said at a Tuesday press conference.

“When the power goes out, that oxygen supply goes away, and most of them have maybe one or two small spare bottles,” Black said. The spare tanks usually last a few hours.

Hall County emergency medical vehicles carry spare oxygen cylinders.

Jennifer Davis, Northeast Georgia Health System emergency preparedness manager, said the hospital has opened up overflow areas to accommodate patients needing oxygen.

Those in need of oxygen are asked to call 911, but if emergency medical services cannot make it in time, then proceed to the hospital overflow area at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Phillippa Lewis Moss, Gainesville-Hall County community service director, said that during inclement weather, Meals on Wheels staff calls recipients who are on oxygen to check their status.

“All of our clients who are on oxygen have extra tanks available,” she said. “If they don’t, we know to call (emergency responders) and get assistance there.

“We also have access to a four-wheel drive and go to their home if necessary and take them to the hospital.”

So far, none of that has been a problem and no one has needed transport to the hospital. That could “change significantly,” however, if power outages linger.

Jackson EMC officials estimated power would be restored by late Wednesday. Georgia Power, which serves Gainesville, gave no estimate Tuesday afternoon.

And Moss is concerned about frigid temperatures forecast for the rest of this week — and not just for the seniors served by the Community Service Center.

“One of the things we have to take into consideration is the fact that a lot of our volunteers are older adults and we need to be aware of their health and vulnerability (as well),” Moss said.

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